Q:What is VR?
A:VR, more properly ” Virtual Reality” is a sophisticated means of safely taking people into a very “real-feeling” simulated environment.
Q:Why would you want to take people into a simulated environment?
A:We could spend a day answering this with examples but here is just one. Our Psychologist, Les Posen, specialises in phobia mitigation and within that further specialises in “curing” fear of flying. During a seminar for Psychologists, a participant asked Les “Why use VR instead of real flights?” Les replied “I can take a sufferer on maybe two domestic flights a day; I can take them on simulated flights perhaps 8 times in an hour. Why would I not use VR? Which is better for the patient?
A:Wasn’t VR built for gaming?
Q:Yes it was. Merkava Technologies made a conscious decision to use it instead for the betterment of humankind. Yes, we all play and enjoy VR games but that is our fun time. We totally love making real improvements in people’s lives using VR.
Q:How is it useful to “take people to another place”?
A:Where do we start? Suppose a person was born in Palermo and migrated here in her teens. She is now in a nursing home. She can’t physically travel but we can arrange to walk her through Palermo. The potential benefits to her well-being are immense.
Another aspect is safety and training. Suppose a person has been recruited to work in a hazardous environment. Do you throw them in the deep end? History show that to be enormously expensive; people die! By contrast, you take them through a simulated environment and by checking their vital signs you see how they are coping. Which is better?
Q: Is VR expensive?
A.On the contrary! Generally, compared to actual exposure versus VR exposure it is extremely cost effective. Imagine recruiting a mine-worker for Olympic Dam from Adelaide. Do you test their ability to cope by flying them up or running them through a VR exposure? Which would you do as manager?